Overcoming Depression: You Have To Want It. Like, Really, Really Want It.
- What Not To Say To Someone Who Is Depressed
- I Sure Am Glad Facebook Wasn’t Around During My Depression
- Why You Shouldn’t Ever Call Yourself An Idiot
- Overcoming Depression: You Have To Want It. Like, Really, Really Want It.
- How Jesus Helped Melt My Glacier of Depression
You have to want to be healed in order to be healed. Sounds simple enough. Too bad it isn’t.
I could start with the story about the paralytic who Jesus told if he wanted to be well, he needed to pick up his mat and walk. It’s a good story, but instead I want to talk about my phobia of Halloween costumes and decorations.
There are many holidays when I gain weight. Christmas and Thanksgiving, you betcha. Fourth of July and Memorial Day, uh-huh. But not on Halloween. I have no appetite whatsoever then.
It’s not that I’m a person who thinks Halloween is of the devil and shouldn’t be recognized. It’s not that I am just grossed out by the bloody and gory masks, either. It really is any mask whatsoever, and when people decorate their food in the spirit of Halloween, like, if they have spiders, eye balls, cob webs, witches, wolves or whatever. Then I’m not touching a thing for the whole night.
For example, last year at our workplace Halloween party I got a two slices of pizza with no fake spiders in sight. I then took the most secluded table of all, next to a woman dressed up like a basketball referee. Keeping my face forward and not looking right or left I started eating when another woman dressed as a witch sat down right in front of me.
I promptly got up and left.
As you likely know, a theme of my podcast and blog is telling stories about overcoming my fears, and when I dressed as a zombie this past Halloween it was an accomplishment but I couldn’t share it because of how strange it would sound. “Hey everybody, I dressed like a zombie! Can you believe it!? Woot woot!”
Nevertheless, it was a big deal. I mean, I couldn’t look at myself in a mirror that night and the pictures still freak me out, but I did it. Yet, this unusual phobia is still very much alive and apparently it isn’t going away any time soon.
And there’s my dilemma. I obviously believe all things are possible in Christ who strengthens us, so I could ultimately get rid of it, but I really don’t want to. I mean, eating spider decorated cookies would be gross, why would I want to do that? And why would I want to comfortably hang around a gnarly looking green witch when I could just leave the room?
So until I come to a decision that I’ve had enough, I will surely be stuck with this thing.
During my depression I wanted to blame everyone but myself for my problems. It’s the meds’ fault! It’s my boss’s for keeping me down! It’s this world’s fault for not loving people (like me) like they should!
Or, I’d just been dealt a bad hand.
Perhaps I wasn’t wrong about those things, but things never got better until I finally realized I was the biggest culprit. Similar to the Halloween phobias, I didn’t really want to get better, or at least my desire wasn’t stronger than my fear of the obstacles. It would mean confiding in people, and that horrified me. It would mean closely examining and mourning over my mistakes and losses, and I didn’t want to do that. It would mean letting go of bitterness that pretended to comfort me and form my identity.
It would mean I would have to stop hiding the face I was a miserable mess.
Praise God, I finally bit the spider cookie, figuratively speaking. I stayed at the table when the witch came by. I even talked to her and tried some of the food on her plate.
The Importance of Lifestyle
I have a cold right now. It disappoints me because some people around me had it and I had gone over a year without a cold so I thought maybe I would again be in the clear. Nevertheless, in the past I would have first thought of Walgreen’s and Nyquil, but today I got a bunch bananas and a bag of apples.
In the past year I fine tuned my diet, adding fruits and nuts to my daily regimen. I also reduced the amount of processed foods and sugars I intake. This is why I’ve been exposed to numerous colds in that time period but haven’t felt sick. Lately I’ve been much more involved in a job search on top of writing, work and husbandry stuff, so I haven’t exercised as much or eaten as healthy recently. So now I’m dedicating myself back to this lifestyle.
Similarly, when depression strikes we will likely first think of the psychiatrist and anti-depressant pills. And like how Walgreen’s helps relieve cold and flu symptoms, the pills will have a relieving effect, but if we don’t also change our lifestyles in any other ways we’ll likely end up back at the pscyhiatrist’s office blaming the pill and asking for a new one.
How do we need to change our lives? For each individual it’s going to be different, but one similarity is the quiet voice that whispers directions but we keep swatting it away because it will be challenging and painful. How do we finally break down and listen? More about that next week.